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Last Updated: Saturday, 8 November, 2003, 16:48 GMT
Celtic awake to sink Pars
Celtic 5-0 Dunfermline Athletic

Stanislav Varga celebrates scoring the fourth goal
Stanislav Varga scored Celtic's fourth goal against the Pars
Two goals from John Hartson helped Celtic emerge from a Champions League hangover to sweep aside Dunfermline Athletic.

The Welsh striker got vital strikes early in the first half and late in the second at Celtic Park.

Dunfermline were able to subdue a home side on a high from their midweek dismantling of Anderlecht for much of the match.

But young winger Ross Wallace came on late on to score the third - his first for the club - and set up Stanislav Varga for the fourth late on before Henrik Larsson completed the scoring.

The late surge ensured the three points that stretched Celtic's lead to eight points 24 hours before champions Rangers visit Kilmarnock.

Dunfermline had made three changes as they attempted to repeat their draw with Celtic on the opening day of the season.

Aaron Labonte, Lee Bullen and Billy Mehmet came in for Barry Nicholson, Gary Dempsey and Craig Brewster.

Celtic's Martin O'Neill handed Scotland boss Berti Vogts a major boost by giving goalkeeper Robert Douglas a starting place ahead of the Euro 2004 play-off against the Netherlands.

Liam Miller was missing with a hamstring strain, Shaun Maloney coming in, and the young midfielder's mobility was badly missed by the home side.

It took 15 minutes for them to create their first chance, Hartson heading the ball into the path of Larsson, but the normally lethal Swede volleyed wide of the far post from five yards.

Dunfermline were pushing forward themselves, but a poor pass from Scotland striker Stevie Crawford led to the break from which Celtic opened the scoring after 22 minutes.

Larsson picked out Didier Agathe and his cross was met by Hartson, who swept the ball home from 16 yards.

Shaun Maloney is challenged by Dunfermline's Gary Mason
Shaun Maloney (left) was given a rare start for Celtic
Dunfermline at times moved the ball about cleverly without much penetration but did manage to limit Celtic to a few half chances to reach half-time still within touching distance.

The visitors came close to equalising after the break, former West Ham United forward Mehmet striking a shot from the edge of the box that was turned on to the underside of the bar by the fingertips of Douglas before bouncing clear.

An incisive ball from Stilian Petrov set up Hartson for his second goal after 77 minutes, the striker stabbing the ball home from 15 yards with the Dunfermline defence claiming for offside.

Substitute Wallace twisted and turned before driving home the third from 12 yards four minutes later.

He then sent in a cross that was headed home by the unmarked, diving Varga from eight yards as Dunfermline capitulated.

Larsson completed the scoring by driving home from a near-impossible angle after jinking past Stillie.


Celtic: Douglas, Varga, Balde (Mjallby 84), McNamara, Agathe, Lennon, Sutton, Maloney (Wallace 72), Petrov (Sylla 84), Larsson, Hartson.
Subs Not Used: Hedman, Gray.

Goals: Hartson 23, 77, Wallace 81, Varga 83, Larsson 87.

Dunfermline: Stillie, Bullen, Scott Wilson, Skerla, Scott Thomson, Mason (Dempsey 61), Darren Young, McDermott (Brewster 72), Labonte, Mehmet (McGarty 89), Crawford.
Subs Not Used: Ruitenbeek, Byrne.

Booked: Mason, Scott Thomson.

Attendance: 58,328

Referee: M McCurry






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